Budget, big issues remain in Richmond spotlight

Budget battles, big bills still ahead during second half of Virginia's General Assembly session.
Budget battles, big bills still ahead during second half of Virginia's General Assembly session.(WDBJ7)
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 7:46 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Lawmakers are catching their breath after a busy crossover in the General Assembly.

But with the legislative session now at the halfway point, the hard work is just beginning.

Governor Youngkin and Republican supporters celebrated a key political victory this week, when he signed the legislation ending mask mandates in Virginia’s public schools.

But we won’t know the final score of the Governor’s Day One Game plan until mid-March, when the General Assembly adjourns.

“We’re delivering on the promises and the commitments that we made to the voters back in November,” said Del. Wendell Walker (R-Lynchburg).

“We’re trying to lower the cost at the grocery store. We’re lowering the cost at the gas pump. We’re doing some things with the tax rates, so we’re putting money back in Virginians’ pockets,” added Del. Joe McNamara (R-Roanoke Co.).

Meanwhile , Democrats are defending many of the reforms they passed in the last two years, and focusing on the budget battles still ahead.

“We’re going to hold the line on a lot of these issues,” said Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke). “I’m particularly concerned about cutting taxes with regard to transportation.”

“I’m going to be looking hard at the budget to make sure that we are treated fairly in our neck of the woods,” Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) told WDBJ7 this week.

Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton said those are just some of the topics lawmakers will navigate in the next few weeks.

“The budget itself, taxes, education, some of the construction, and then of course some of the social issues, whether anything about guns, about abortion, or marijuana still will be topics of great discussion,” he said.

The General Assembly is now less than a month away from adjournment.

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